Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Skillz




I have acquired a new skill over the last few weeks. I can now tell the outside temperature based on the slushiness of my Diet Coke being stored in the garage. I can get within a degree or two every time.

(Having nice, cold Diet Coke without using up all my fridge space is the one and only good thing about winter.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Florida, Anyone?



Or Arizona? Or Aruba? Or Hawaii? Yeah, Hawaii sounds good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Believe

We've never really done the Santa thing with our kids. They just see him as a character from books and movies. I asked them about it this year. If they wished we had Santa come to our house. They said no. They were fine with things the way they've been. "Besides," said Adam, "There's no way he could get to all the houses in the world in one night." So we believe in the spirit of Santa, but not so much the guy in red himself.

But after this year, I'm seriously considering rethinking Santa. You see, he has been visiting us for weeks. Our family has been affected by the economic downturn and somebody told Santa. He has sent envelopes with money and gift certificates. He has delivered boxes of food and gifts. And on Christmas Eve he outdid himself by leaving on our front porch boxes and bags of gifts for our family. I was completely overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our own personal Santa (or Santas). This Santa knows us well because the sizes were right on the clothes and the gifts for the kids were perfect. There were games and puzzles and toys and even a few very thoughtful things for Arrty and I. We have played lots of hands of Uno Spin and Adam is working on his puzzle as I type. And Julianna is completely in love with the blue elephant and butterfly doll that she received. (I saw the same doll while shopping and almost bought it for her because it is so cute and perfect for her since her room is decorated with butterflies.) For a brief moment I started to wrack my brain to try to figure out who could have done such a wonderful thing for our family, then I decided that the gift tags said Santa, so I would just go with that. I hope, though, that somehow all those who have been so very kind to us know that we are truly grateful.

And I hope that next year, we'll be able to do the same for someone else.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I enjoyed seeing Marmitetoasty's Christmas tree ornaments so much that I decided to share a few of ours. Our tree is covered with all kinds of ornaments. Some are handmade by the kids. Some were given to us as gifts. And some were bought during our traditional ornament shopping trip.

Adam made this one when he was 4.

And he made this one in kindergarten.

Josh made this one in 1st grade.

And he made this one when he was 5.

This is our 2008 family ornament.

Adam's 2008 Bumble ornament.

Josh's 2008 Santa fisherman ornament.

Julianna's 2008 skating Care Bear ornament.


My angel in an egg ornament. It must be at least 25 years old.

We all love to open the ornament box and remember Christmases past. And look forward to all the Christmases to come.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I really should be frantically wrapping presents. But I'm instead here blogging. I just had to say Merry Christmas to those of you who may happen to stop by. I hope you have the best Christmas ever!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A rose by any other name...

I have encountered a problem that I wasn't expecting when we named Julianna. Some people pronounce it Juli-aw-na. But it's Juli-anna. Just like it looks. Don't get me wrong. Juliawna is a fine name, but it's not my daughter's name. So what do I do? So far I have let it go if it's someone we rarely see, like the doctor. If it's someone who we see often I just make sure to say her name correctly a few times hoping they'll catch on. I honestly never thought there would be a problem with the pronunciation or spelling of her name. (Apparently you can spell it Juliana, too.) I hope that she doesn't spend her life correcting people about her name. I can just see her in 15 years rolling her eyes and saying, "It's Juli-ANNA."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day

I make the rules and I say that if schools get a snow day, homeschoolers do, too. At least these homeschoolers do. Besides, it's going to take my students and co-teacher all day to dig us out.

This is Arrty standing next to his Explorer. I'm glad he's the one with the shovel and I'm the one with the camera.



The boys are trying to make a path out to the dog's house. The snow is up to their waists. We also use the swing set to measure our snow. It's well past the seats already.


They're making progress slowly but surely. By the way, the dog was in the house last night so he isn't snowed in his dog house. You can't see him but he was trying to "help" with the path. He's a huge chocolate lab and as he ran through the snow, all I could see was the top of his head.



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ramblings

*We went to a Christmas party at Santa's house this week. Really. He and Mrs. Claus are in our Bible study group. Check out the link. It was great fun and even better fellowship. There was dinner and a gift exchange and "Frosty the Snowman" read by Santa himself.

*I have discovered that there is a magical moment each night when, if I put Julianna to bed after prayers and songs, she will go happily to sleep all on her own. If, however, I miss that moment she isn't nearly so happy about the whole thing.

*Speaking of Julianna, she had her 6 month check-up this week. She is 25 inches long and weighs just under 15 pounds. She is in the 25th percentile for height and 20th for weight. Lots of people tell me that she's tiny, but I guess I didn't realize it since I've known her since she really was tiny. But she is perfectly healthy and right on track with her development.

*I went Christmas shopping this week and was once again surprised at all the grumpy people. Even those who were also Christmas shopping. I was so not grumpy. How could I be when I have people to buy presents for and a little bit of money to buy presents with?

*After the boys helped Arrty's grandma move yesterday, his aunt Cathy took us all out to dinner at Tomato Street. We don't eat there often and I always forget how yummy it is. I had tomato basil soup with garlic bread and chicken parmigiana with fettuccine Alfredo. Mmm. I ate the leftovers for breakfast, but I wish I had more for right now.

*I am feeling a little overwhelmed this week because even though our family has gone from 2 1/2 jobs this time last year to half a job now, we are still being provided for by our heavenly Father. We have a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs and a pantry and fridge full of food to feed our children. And we are so very blessed by the people in our lives who love us.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Overheard...

...while the boys were watching a movie.

Adam: "She's a bad singer."
Josh: "It's opera. It's supposed to be bad."

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bloggers

I was just explaining to Adam why Julianna can't have stuffed animals to sleep with. That it's not safe for her yet. To the boy who has no less than 20 stuffed animals in his bed, that made no sense. He said, "Where did you hear that? You don't always have to believe what bloggers say!"

Really? Bloggers? I thought I could always believe bloggers.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

6 Months

Julianna turned 6 months old yesterday. 6 months. Half a year. I can't believe it. She does something new everyday it seems. I think because I'm an older mom this time I am appreciating this whole baby thing more. And because she's our last. Really this time.

When I was pregnant I knew that I was going to breastfeed even though it certainly isn't my favorite part of mommyhood. I was hoping to make it to 5 or 6 months with her like I had with the boys. Then she was born. The first day was easy. She was a good nurser from the beginning and I was more confident and less anxious about the whole thing. The second day was not easy. She wanted to eat all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean ALL THE TIME. I remember praying that second night, when she was attached to me yet again, for my milk to come in so that she would be full for a few minutes. And of course, it did and she was. But at that point I was a little worried. I told myself to stick it out for a week. Then when I made it that week, I thought I'd try one more week. Then I thought I would shoot for a month. By the time she was a month old, we were both old hat at the whole thing.

So here we are at 6 months and I'm trying to decide what to do. I have reached my original goal. But now it's so easy. And convenient. And free. And Jules doesn't have any teeth yet.

So I'm thinking maybe just a little longer. A couple more weeks. Or at least until that first tooth appears.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ughh!

Julianna has another cold. She was better for a whole 4 days. Now there is more coughing and stuffiness. Where did she get it? None of the rest of us are sick. I'm usually not overly paranoid, but I'm wanting to keep her home and away from the world just to keep her well. Poor little thing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finished

Well, today is November 30th. That means that with this post I have succeeded in blogging everyday this month for Nablopomo. It has been a stretch to think of something each day to write about. But it has been good, too. It also means that tomorrow is December. Time to get ready for more holidays and winter weather and fun. It also means that it is officially my sister's birthday month. (Yes, she celebrates all month. Happy birthday month, Ada!)

So, Nablopomo is done for another year. I made it. Phew.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Frosty #1


Here is the first snowman of the year. He was completed last night at about 8:15. He only stands about 2 feet tall which is good because the only carrots I had for a nose were baby carrots. The boys were very proud of him. But, sadly, today he is more of a snow blob than a snowman and only has one eye and no mouth. Oh, well. I'm sure they'll have lots more opportunities to build snow creations in the months to come.



Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Again

We had a great day yesterday celebrating Thanksgiving with family. Good food and great fellowship. And as is our tradition, today I cooked for our family. For as long as we've been married, we've not spent Thanksgiving at home. But every year I buy a turkey and all the fixings and cook all the traditional dishes a day or two after the actual day. So we have Thanksgiving twice. I mostly do it for the leftovers and so that we can have thick turkey sandwiches and hot turkey sandwiches for the next week.

Julianna tried sweet potatoes for the first time yesterday. I thought that was appropriate. She didn't much care for them though and ended up smacking the spoon out of my hand and flinging mushed sweet potatoes everywhere. So she ended up with more sweet potatoes on her sock than in her tummy.

We also played Pictionary. The boys versus the girls and Josh. The boys won thanks to Adam. Who knew he was a master Pictionary player? (He guessed lots of the answers right, but his first guess pretty much every time was, "stick person.")

It was a good day. And I was reminded once again what I have to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks

Today I am thankful that I have everything I need to take care of my children and that I am able to get up every morning to do so.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Zzzzz?

Last night I was up with Julianna 4 times. Since she's had a cold, she's been waking up more because of the stuffy nose and coughing. And I didn't want to let her cry because she would just cough more. But now that the cold's pretty much gone, I have to make a choice. Do I do the "cry it out" method or the "non cry method" to get her to sleep through the night and get herself back to sleep? The "cry it out" method is just how it sounds. When she wakes up in the night and cries I would just let her cry herself back to sleep. The idea is that she will eventually cry less and less and be able to sleep on her own. The "non cry method" is when she cries I would go in and pick her up and comfort her but put her back down before she is back to sleep. I would have to do this every time she cries even if I have just put her back to bed. This method is supposed to teach her that it's bedtime and I'm there for her but it's time to sleep. I used the "cry it out" method with the boys and they have both always been pretty good sleepers. And they don't seem to be scarred for life because I let them cry. So what do I do? She'll be six months old next week and it's time for a good night's sleep for the both of us.

By the way, I totally jinxed her sleeping through the night between the ages of 1 month to 3 months. I was bragging to anyone who asked and now I'm paying for it. So I'm not going to mention that she is finally starting to take a pacifier instead of using me as her human pacifier. Wait. Did I just jinx that, too?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2

Well, I missed it. Again. My two year blogiversary was November 4th. I always think it's later in the month. For two years I've written about my life. Two of the hardest years of my life. Here's hoping the next two are easier. And that I don't miss my 3rd blogiversary.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Learning

Have I mentioned that homeschooling is hard? Well, it is. It's a real challenge trying to teach ancient Rome surrounded by all the distractions like toys and bikes and a baby sister and 24 hour cartoon channels. And then there's the mom thing. "But mom, do I really have to write my spelling words?" "Aww, mom, can't I just write 4 sentences instead of 6?" Then there's the fact that we have a 5 month old baby in the house who has absolutely no concern for who Julius Caesar is or what 4 times 9 equals. She kind of sets our schedule for us. (Although I can nurse her and give a spelling test at the same time.) And I fully admit to being overly flexible. "The sun's shining? Sure you can play outside." "You've never seen this Scooby Doo? Sure, you can watch it." Don't get me wrong, we still do school everyday and are pretty much on schedule. But that's mostly because I was a teacher before I was a mom and am pretty good at combining lessons and integrating different subjects.

So, yes, homeschooling is hard. But I realized something a few nights ago. The boys wanted me to lay with them at bedtime and I really didn't want to. I am with them all day every day after all. I really just wanted to watch Grey's Anatomy without interruption. But lay with them I did. And they started some conversation. I don't even remember what it was. But I do remember thinking that I know my children better now than I ever have before. Spending half the day talking with them about books and history and art and science and the world has allowed me to know them in a way I never could have without this experience. I know that it will be good for all of us in the long run. I know that down the road I will be glad that we made this decision. And tomorrow I'll try to remember that when I'm explaining again why they do, in fact, have to write all 6 sentences.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight

Yes, yesterday vampires made me happy. Here's why. I went to see "Twilight" with my "Twilight" friends. It's a movie that's been made from the first in the crazy popular book series by Stephanie Meyer. The main characters are Bella, a teenage girl living in Forks, Washington, and her vampire boyfriend, Edward, and his vampire family. Katrina shared the books with me a few months ago and I devoured them. (No pun intended.) I know that they will never be considered classic great American novels, but I loved reading them. I was entertained and absolutely fascinated that the author could come up with such detailed explanations of everything from the landscape to the thoughts of a teenage girl to all the hows and whys of vampires. My imagination is limited which is why I mostly write non-fiction so to read a story with such creativity was a real treat for me. And I was really looking forward to seeing the movie even knowing that I might be among the oldest members of the audience. So here's what I thought about the movie. I liked it a lot. The casting was well done for the most part. The same feeling of teenage angst and brooding from the book was there along with the excitement of young love. They did a fine job of portraying the vampires from the way they looked to the way they moved. Obviously they couldn't do justice to a 500 page novel in a two hour movie, but I still really enjoyed it. And it was fun to go with my girls and giggle about our glow-in-the-dark plastic fangs.

And, by the way, the lady three seats down was much older than me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

5 Things...

...that made me happy today.

1. Tea parties
2. Friends
3. Vampires*
4. Toothless grins (babies, not old men)
5. Girl's night

*More on this tomorrow

Friday, November 21, 2008

Get A Clue

Thursday nights have become family game night at our house. Last week it was Dominoes and Triple Yahtzee. Last night it was Clue. I hadn't played Clue for years. Like 20 years. And the boys had never played. So we all had to learn (or re-learn) together. It was really fun to watch the boys try to strategize their moves and figure out who did it, with what, where. Well, Josh had a strategy. Adam mostly moved from room to room and suggested that he (Mr. Green) did it with the lead pipe. And he had a hard time not commenting on each clue card he received. Yes, the lead pipe is bent like someone really used it to hit someone else. Yes, the knife does look old fashioned. Yes, it is weird that daddy is Col. Mustard when he actually can't stand mustard. But we got through 2 whole games of Clue. I won the first one which was kind of surprising since I wasn't trying that hard. And Arrty won the second one. Which wasn't surprising at all because he was trying really hard. And it wasn't Mr. Green with the lead pipe either time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ma

"If more people listened to Ma Ingalls life would be a lot simpler."
Alison Arngrim, season 6

I've decided that I want to be Caroline Ingalls. She was one of those great pioneer moms who could make one chicken feed her family for days. She could make them all clothes without patterns and then use the old, worn out clothes to make quilts to keep them warm when the snow blew in through the cracks in the walls. She could milk the cows and make butter from the milk. Then make perfect bread or biscuits to spread the butter on without a recipe. And while the bread baked, she could cut out paper dolls for her daughters. She read and sang to her children and taught them what they needed to know. She disciplined Laura when she got into trouble for teasing Nellie, but she wasn't too hard on her because she knew that Nellie deserved it. She taught her children the value of everything and helped them to be glad for what they had...like an orange in their Christmas stocking or a handmade doll. She appreciated her husband and did what she could to support him in all he did. She encouraged her children to be and do whatever they wanted. She worked hard every day and did all she could to give her family the happy home that they shared. That all sounds pretty good to me. So that's why I want to be Caroline Ingalls.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Size 3

Today I used my last size 2 diaper and had to open the size 3's that I bought at Costco. They looked huge! How could my tiny baby daughter possibly need such huge diapers? They are for babies who are 16-24 pounds. I don't think Jules is quite 16 pounds, but she is surely getting close. Too close to need another Costco box of size 2's. So I tried it. And guess what? It wasn't as huge as I thought. It was a little big, but it worked.

I think mostly I didn't want her to need size 3. To me she is still a size 2, or even 1. Five and a half months has gone by too fast. It just doesn't seem possible. And size 3 diapers was just one more reminder that they grow. They grow fast.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Dinner

In yesterday's post I mentioned family dinner but I don't think I've ever written about it here. For years, for as long as I can remember, my family has had at least one night a week where we all have dinner together. It started out as just the four of us. Mom, dad, my sister, and I. Then it turned into a once a week event. Over the years it has grown to be the ten, soon to be eleven, of us. But it is much more than just a meal. We tell stories and share our lives and laugh at and with each other. We watch our kids play and grow together. We talk about memories and make new ones. So, yes, it is family dinner because we do eat delicious food every week. But it's really so much more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend? We had a weekend?

I spent the entire weekend pretty much sitting with a sick baby in my lap or asleep on my chest watching kid's movies with a sick 7 year old. I lost count of how many movies we watched and how many Kleenexes we used. But today there seems to be a turn around. Julianna is smiling more and sneezing less. And Adam is actually outside playing with Josh on this beautiful fall day. I may even bundle the baby up and go for a short walk this afternoon. One more day of rest and hopefully we'll be able to go to family dinner tomorrow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Party Time

I've been having parties at my house lately. But I didn't need to invite anyone because I had plenty of guests. And even if I would have invited you, you wouldn't have wanted to come because my parties were "pity parties." And the guests who came weren't invited and were not any fun. You see, the guests were worry and anger and selfishness and anxiety and sadness and guilt. They came without warning and came in through doors that I thought were locked. Sometimes they brought friends, too,--fear, chaos, and loneliness. And they were terrible guests. They came in and made a mess and wouldn't leave when I asked them to. They just lingered around and touched everything. They hung around when I was trying to teach my boys and care for my baby and love my husband. They whispered in my ear as I tried to do all the things I'm supposed to do each day. Right before my eyes, they seemed to grow as they fed each other. And then one day I saw them for what they were and I was tired of the parties. I was tired of allowing unwanted guests into my life. I was tired of these things ruling how I lived. So I kicked them out.

I knew, though, that they would be back if I didn't invite new guests into my life. So I replaced worry with prayer and anger with love. I invited generosity and peace to take the place of selfishness and anxiety. Joy replaced sadness. And my favorite new guest, grace, swept guilt right out the door. My new guests are great. And they bring friends, too. Friends like patience, mercy, and self control. They don't make messes but clean up the ones already here. They, too, touch everything in my life, but with light instead of darkness. They hang around my family, but instead of spreading pain, they lavish goodness. And best of all, they bring their own whispers to guide me through each day. They remind me of my blessings. They help me see the cutest smile in the world on my sweet daughter's face and point out the goodness in the hearts of my sons. These wonderful party guests help me appreciate my husband and be grateful for all he does for us. They gently show me how to prioritize my life and remind me that a spotless house isn't as important as a memory made. So now, when I have parties at my house, there is no pity allowed. Those old, dark, miserable parties have been replaced by "peace parties" that pass all understanding.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Cold

Is there anything more pitiful than a sick baby? Poor Julianna has a cold complete with watery eyes, runny and stuffy nose, and coughing. She's being a real trooper and isn't complaining much, but I can tell she doesn't feel well. She's not her smiley, happy self. Hopefully a few days of rest will help.

(Adam is also down with the same cold. And I woke up with a sore throat. But mommy can't get sick.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Haunting

I watch Grey's Anatomy. They almost lost me as a viewer in the last few weeks, but I decided to give it one more chance. And last night was better. It was back to more patient/doctor stuff which is the best part. I'm glad. I would have missed Bailey and Izzie and Alex and George if I would have had to let them go. And now that Denny is haunting Izzie I have to stick around.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hair Today...

Today as we were going to the car to head into town, it was very windy. We actually checked the stuff in the yard and on the porch to make sure it wouldn't blow away while we were gone. Adam forgot something in the house so I walked back in with him. As we were fighting with the door to keep it from blowing too far, Adam said, completely out of the blue, "It's a good thing none of us wear wigs." Yes. Yes it is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

12

12 days into Nablopomo and I'm struggling to think of something to write about. Here are my options. The art of diaper changing. Multiplication tables. Verbs. Kitchen cleaning. Laundry day. Or the fact that I really wish I was lying on a beach somewhere.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Movie Day

We took the kids to the movies today to see Madagascar 2. It was pretty good. I liked the first one better, I think. The boys have been to the movies many times. It's always been one of our favorite things to do as a family. They have always been very good movie goers. They sit still and watch the movie and don't disrupt. And so I was curious to see how Julianna would do. She actually has been to the movies several times. The first was when she was two weeks old and we went to see Kung Fu Panda. She nursed and slept through the whole thing. Then she and the boys and I went to many of the free movies this summer which she also slept through. But today she was wide awake and so curious about everything. She looked around and took it all in and I could almost see the neurons firing in her little brain as she experienced this new thing in her life. She watched the movie for a while then watched the audience for a while then got sleepy but fought falling asleep (I think she was afraid she'd miss something exciting) so I took her out and wrapped her in our sling and stood in the aisle watching the movie until she fell asleep. She then napped most of the rest of the movie. All in all she did very well. And it's fun to think that in a few years I'll have someone who will actually want to watch chick flicks with me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Seeing Spots

Did you know that babies are born without freckles? They are. It's hard to believe that my sons, who's noses (and cheeks and arms) are sprinkled with freckles now, were born completely unfreckled. Josh's first freckle appeared behind his right ear when he was about 5 months old. Adam's appeared at about the same age...behind his right ear! I know. Weird.

And guess what we found yesterday. Julianna's first freckle. It isn't behind her right ear which would have been freaky. It is just to the right and above her belly button. So cute!

One more first. They seem to happen every day lately.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Proverbs 16:9

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pink Continued

Well, my sister is all showered. Her baby shower went well this morning and she was happy which makes me happy. She got lots of great gifts. Tons of pink of course. And so many cute clothes. So here's what I'm thinking. Julianna gives all of her cute clothes to her cousin, so shouldn't she get to wear the new ones, too. She'll give them back before the baby needs them and will be glad to break them in for her. Okay, maybe not. But the clothes really were cute.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Sweet

Today I baked. We are having a baby shower brunch for my sister tomorrow and I got a little crazy. Here's what I made...

lemon blueberry coffee cake
orange blueberry bread
orange rolls
banana muffins
chocolate chip banana bread

All that's left to do is drizzle on the glaze and eat.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

First Flakes

And so it begins. Today I drove home in the first snow of the year. The further north we got, the more snowy the flakes. The boys were thrilled even though it was just barely enough to make the ground and trees the slightest bit white. But me, well, snow and I have a love/hate relationship. Actually I have a love/hate relationship with snow. I don't really know how it feels about me. I love it because it's exciting to see those first few flakes fly and it really is beautiful when the whole world seems to be covered with a glimmering, white blanket. And there are few things better than sitting in front of the window with a warm quilt and a cup of tea watching the world turn white. I love snow, too, because my kids love it. The building and sledding and throwing never seem to get old. So I love snow.

And I hate snow. I hate the shoveling and cleaning off the car in the morning (which I won't have to do this year since I'm staying home with the kids). I hate being cold for four months straight. I hate wearing winter coats and boots and getting the whole family bundled up like Eskimos to go anywhere. But most of all I hate driving in snow. I hate worrying about losing control of my car or sliding off the road. And what's worse, I hate having to worry about the drivers around me even more than usual.

So today it snowed and I love it...and I hate it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Don't give up what you want most for what you want now."--Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

When?

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to explore the flora and fauna of the hills. She watched "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley" on TV and played "slap jack" with her grandma.

Then one day she woke up and she was sixteen and in high school. She loved to sing and read and write and was determined that she would never get married.

Then one day she woke up and was twenty and married. She loved movies and her new husband and wasn't sure if she wanted to have children.

Then one day she woke up and had a baby. She loved him more than she thought possible and was determined to be a good mommy.

Then one day she woke up and had two babies. And she loved that one just as much as the first one.

Then one day she woke up and those babies were going to school and reading and wanting cell phones. She loved to be read to and was determined that no eight year old boy needed a cell phone.

Then one day she woke up and she had another baby--a sweet, beautiful little girl. She fell in love again and knew that this little girl was sent from above.

Then today she woke up and looked around and wasn't quite sure when all this had happened. Just when did that little girl who loved to watch tadpoles and look for four leaf clovers become this woman with a husband and three children and a sink full of dirty dishes? And she wondered who she will be tomorrow.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Words

"The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."--Mark Twain

Good advice for a wannabe writer like me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Extra Time

Today is the day we "fall back" and therefore have an extra hour in the day. Most people talk about using that extra hour to sleep, but our family uses it differently. Every year on this day we get up at our regular time and go out for breakfast before church. We couldn't remember when we started doing this, but I think it began one year when we forgot to set the clocks back and showed up for church an hour early. Today though, all these years later, instead of just the two of us having breakfast out, all five of us did. How our lives have changed. And so today, when I really could have used an extra hour of sleep, I instead used my extra hour to make a memory...and enjoy french toast.

And today Julianna is 5 months old. Her personality is really starting to come out. Right now she is lying on her tummy (which she rolls to often) and "talking" up a storm. She is happy and giggly and cuddly and growing way too fast.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

November

Today is November 1st and therefore the first day of Nablopomo, which stands for National Blog Posting Month. I have once again joined this crazy group of bloggers with the goal of posting on my blog everyday during the month of November. This is challenging for a few reasons. One, coming up with something to write about everyday is harder than it sounds. And, two, actually finding the time to write is even more difficult. So I will write everyday but I give no guarantees that everyday will be the brilliant and witty posts that you're used to. :)

Secondly, November means something else. It means that the holidays are just around the corner. Adam asked me this morning how many days until Christmas. 55. That's how many days until Christmas. And before that comes Thanksgiving. I love this time of year and am looking forward to it. I get a warm feeling just thinking about days spent with family and the yummy smells as I walk into my mom's house on Thanksgiving day and decorating the Christmas tree with my kids and sitting in the dark with a cup of hot chocolate watching the lights twinkle. And this year will be especially fun as I watch the whole thing through the eyes of my daughter as she experiences it for the first time.

So it's November. And November is good.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Vote

I have voted in every presidential election since I was old enough to vote. That would be 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. So since I have been voting we have had two presidents. I voted for one of them. But this year I have been more interested in the election than I ever have been before. I am more knowledgeable about the candidates and the issues thanks to Huckleberries Online and John Stewart. Oh yeah, and I watched all the debates and read a few articles, too.

But I think I've had enough. I think I have seen and heard and talked about the election enough and here's why.

Last night I dreamt about Obama. He was at my house visiting like we'd known each other forever and were old friends. He kept talking to me like he assumed that I was voting for him. I felt guilty for not telling him that I wasn't voting for him even if we were friends. I wanted to tell him, but I just couldn't. I tried to change the subject. I tried to avoid him. I tried to make excuses but he wouldn't let it drop. I felt bad but I just couldn't tell him that I wasn't voting for him. I was instead voting for...myself (as a write in candidate, of course).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Milestones

We have reached two milestones at our house this week.

1. Julianna is rolling over from her back to tummy. She'll stay there for a few minutes until she gets tired of looking at the floor and then we take turns turning her back over.

2. Josh has begun to take showers without being asked. He even asks me if he can. My answer--"Uhh, yeah."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lock Down

Did I ever tell you the story about how Julianna caused a lock down at the hospital?

Well, now a days when you have a baby at our local medical center, they put a little device on each newborn not unlike the security devices on expensive articles of clothing at department stores. It is on an anklet and is about the size of a quarter only four times as thick. This device causes all the doors in the maternity ward to lock if any newborn goes within so many feet of the door wearing said device. They had told me about this ahead of time so I knew what it was the first time I unwrapped Julianna from her blanket and saw it on her ankle. It seemed huge on her tiny little leg just above her long, skinny foot.

The night after she was born, the nurse took her from our room into the nursery for her hearing test. After a while (I don't know how long-- I was exhausted and on some really good pain medication) they brought her back all bundled up again, and put her into her bassinet. When she woke up and began to fuss, I put her in bed with me. Which is where she was the next morning when a nurse burst through the door and quickly scanned the room looking for our baby. "Do you have your baby," she asked frantically. "Uhh, yes," I answered at about the same time she saw Julianna lying beside me. "Okay," she said and hurried from the room. Arrty and I looked at each other and wondered just what that weird exchange was all about. A little while later we found out.

It seems that when the nurse had Jules in for her hearing test and changed her diaper, the anklet fell off and got thrown into the trash. The next morning when the janitor came to take out the garbage, the anklet, that was supposed to be on our daughter, caused a lock down on the third floor of the hospital from the inside of a garbage bag. They knew it was hers because of the computer program to which it was linked and were able to quickly solve the problem and let the poor janitor go about her business.

Soon after, the nurse came and took Jules to the nursery and put a new anklet on her. This time it was a little tighter than the first.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Update on Halfway

(Read Halfway--the previous post, before you read this one.)

Well, it seems I was wrong. I am not to the halfway point with Josh. Today as we were studying mammals in science it talked about how mammal mothers take care of their young until they are ready to care for themselves. And then it asked the question, "How long do you think it will take until you are ready to be on your own." Josh asked, "You mean without parents?" "Yes," I replied. Josh thought for a minute then answered, "32."

So, I am really only 28% finished with him. Phew! That gives me plenty of time.

(By the way, Adam's answer was 25.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Halfway

Today is Josh's birthday. He is turning 9. NINE. I can hardly believe it. I remember the moment I found out I was pregnant with him. I remember the first time I felt him move in my belly. I remember lying on the operating table and hearing him cry for the first time. I remember the first time I fed him and changed his diaper and looked into his eyes. I remember the long nights standing, half asleep, rocking him in my arms trying to get him to sleep. I remember his first word, his first steps, his first birthday. I remember his first day of school, the first time he read to me, the first time he rode his big boy bike. And I remember the last bottle I fed him and the last night he slept in his crib. But I didn't notice the last time I helped him take a bath or the last time he called me mommy instead of mom or the last time I picked out his clothes for him. And I don't remember the last time he curled up in my lap to read a story. So, I hope that today, as he turns nine, I will remember to pay attention and notice those lasts because really, they are as important as the firsts.



Last week as I was thinking about his birthday and making preparations for his party, I realized that he is turning nine. And nine is halfway to 18. And 18 is when he is officially an adult and should be able to make his own decisions. And he is halfway there. And I am halfway there. I have used up half my time with him to help him become who he was meant to be. I have spent half of his childhood loving him and moulding him into the person he will become. I have to wonder if I've done justice to the gift that he is. To the soul that his not so little body contains. Have I been the mother I should be for him? The answer is no. I have failed so many times. But the answer is also yes. Because I have tried to love him and guide him as best I can. So today, as my firstborn reaches the halfway mark, I will pray especially hard that I will have the wisdom I need for the second half.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ink


I saw this story yesterday about how Angelina Jolie has a tattoo showing the geographical locations where each of her six children were born. I think it's kinda cool. But if I were to have a tattoo like this it would be a little boring. All three of my children were born in the exact same location. In the exact same operating room, even. Not in Africa or Asia or fancy shmancy hospitals in France.

So I began to think, if I were going to get ink'd (notice how cool I am using the word ink'd) to represent my children, what kind of ink would I get. I could get their initials--JS, AD, JG. But that's boring and predictable. I could get their birthdays. Still not enough kick. I could get their nicknames. Yoshi for Josh, Bubba for Adam, Jujubee for Julianna. But when they get older they might not appreciate those names like they do now. Maybe something that represents their interests. A fish for Josh and a bug for Adam, but all Julianna is interested in is eating and I don't think I want that kind of a tattoo. What about some exotic foreign symbol that represents their names? Too cool for me. How about a cartoon character that reflects their personality? Bugs Bunny for Josh, Tasmanian Devil for Adam, Tweety Bird for Jules. I'm sure I would never regret that!

So I'm kind of at a loss. I'll just have to keep thinking about it. Because all of you who know me know that I'm totally an ink kind of gal.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sleepy

Josh has a pet turtle. He got him for his 5th birthday to replace the one that ran away. His name is Leonardo (after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, of course) and when Julianna was born he was banished to the basement since the play room where his tank was became her room.


Well, this morning when I went downstairs to get some of the boys' stuff for school, I didn't see him in his tank. I looked for any sign of him and saw nothing. There is no way possible for him to escape said tank and so I came to the conclusion that he must be hibernating. Turtles do hibernate in the wild during the cold months and since there has been no heat on in the basement I thought maybe he was buried in there asleep. So I poked around under the bedding a little and sure enough I soon felt his shell.


And then I thought about last night. About how I was up with Jules until 11:00 and then back up at 11:42 and 12:23 and 12:58 and 2:44 and finally at 6:23. And I began to wonder if hibernation is possible for humans. I could use a month or two of sleep.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Changing Seasons

I think I've changed my mind.

Forever I have thought that my favorite season is summer. But, now, today, I'm thinking that maybe it's fall. This weather that we've been having is perfection. Warm and sunny during the day. Warm enough for tee shirts and shorts, but not so hot that you have to hide in the air conditioning. And cool in the evening and at night. No more of those so-sweltering-you-can't-sleep nights. Perfect weather for me to enjoy this amazing place where we live.

In the last week I have taken the kids out for two field trips. Friday we went downtown and did the Mudgy and Millie walk. It was great. The sky was blue. The lake calm. The story and statues as good as I expected. I was also reminded of how much I like downtown. I remember when I was little, we lived on Front Street and spent a lot of time down at the lake and at the park. But now, during the summer, it's just too crowded for me to enjoy. Friday, though, there were just a handful of people here and there. Not enough to make any one area seem crowded. The boys especially liked the little stream that flows just above the steps that go into the lake at Independence Point. As I stood and watched them play in it, I was taken back in time to the early eighties when I was their age and did the exact same thing. I could picture so clearly summer days spent sitting along that stream with so many other children splashing and playing in the water. It was one of those moments that made me feel all warm and sweet with good childhood memories. So I once again fell in love with downtown Coeur d' Alene. I hope to spend a few more days there before the snow flies this year. And now I know that fall is the season to enjoy downtown.

And then yesterday we went to Carver Farms. The boys were able to spend some time with their friends from last year's school. We walked around the farm, picked pop corn, went on a hay ride, and picked pumpkins and gourds. All very fall-like activities. All very enjoyable. And once again the weather was ideal. Short sleeves and a cute little sun hat for Jules.

So I am enjoying this season even more than the last. And maybe I always have but am just now realizing it. Yep, I think that's it. I have officially changed my mind. My second favorite season is summer. And my very favorite season is fall.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ugh...

I'm sick with that beginning-of-the-school-year cold. And I'm not even at school. What's the deal with that?!?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More About Homeschooling

Every year when I start teaching a new class, I have to evaluate the personality of the class and the students in the class. I have to think about the year before and what worked and what didn't. I have to try different management techniques. Sometimes I'll start the year doing one thing but discover that that year's class may not respond to stickers or gummy bears or whatever. (M-n-M's rarely fail, though.) Time-outs may work for one student but don't affect another at all. It's all trial and error in a classroom setting.

And this year is no different. I have had to change some things that I had planned. I've had to add some things and take away some things. I've had to adjust my ideal to fit the reality of homeschooling Josh and Adam. We discussed this in detail before we made the decision last spring and they agreed that it's what they wanted to do and that they would do their part. I agreed, too, knowing that it was going to be hard. After all, I know my children. I know that Josh is stubborn and doesn't like to write. Getting him to write the most simple journal entry or paragraph is like pulling teeth. I know that. And I know that Adam is a perfectionist and can be silly beyond words. If he thinks he "can't" do something there will be tears on his part and mine before it gets done. And if it's not fun, he sees no point in it. I knew all that before I decided to homeschool them. I did, after all, have them both in my kindergarten class.

So, just like every other year, I have had to make some changes to the master plan. I have implemented a log where they have to sign in any time they complain or argue or call each other names. The worst part for them is that it sits on the counter and their dad sees it when he comes home. (Everyone needs a little help sometimes.) This has definitely made my life easier even though it was hard the first few days...lots of signing in and even more crying.

Another thing I discovered is that they would take all day to do their work if I let them. But unlike them, I have other things to do besides school. So we have started a "homework" file. Anything that they don't get finished in the time I give them goes in that folder and they have to do it on their own time.

Lastly, I have had to remember that they are only kids. Yes, they are getting to be almost as tall as me and can carry on a conversation with any adult, but they are kids. I had this idea that we would do school in the morning. Sit down and work and get finished before lunch. I failed to realize that they would need and want breaks. And I have discovered that breaks are good. For all of us. So we get up and go for a walk. Or watch an episode of Spongebob. Or go outside for PE. Anything to get away from math problems or spelling words.

So, really, this year hasn't been much different from any other year. Except that I only have two students. And there are no staff meetings. And I teach in my pajamas.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Call Me

I have a friend (Kathy) who is my "weird phone call" friend. I love it when I hear her ringtone on my phone because it's usually something interesting. She has called to tell me what the guy in front of her in the grocery store check-out line has in his cart (a 12 pack of beer and a pregnancy test). She has called me to ask me why in the world teenage boys wear their pants so baggy that you can see their boxer shorts. She has called to ask me how big her hallway bulletin board is. She has called to tell me about how she almost had to take out the cashier at Micheal's who didn't want to give her the clearance prices on what she was buying. Twice. She has called to ask my opinion on any number of given purchases and to talk her out of some purchases that she didn't really need but that were a really good deal. Most recently I got about a dozen calls about rats. And I loved every one. But my favorite all time call came when she was out of town and called to tell me that she was on a morning walk and saw something that made her think of me. She sweetly told me all about the beautiful weather and scenery and I was wondering what had made her think of me. A flower? A butterfly? A cloud shaped like a heart? Then she told me. It was a used pregnancy test lying by the side of the road. (I was pregnant with Julianna.) I laughed so hard. And let me tell you, it's not good for a pregnant woman to laugh that hard.

I hesitate to write this next part because I know that she will totally take this as a challenge and try to stay on top of the weird phone call list, but I received a pretty weird call from my sister yesterday.

Me: Hello
Her: How do you spell hearse? You know like the car they carry dead people in.
Me: H-E-A-R-S-E
Her: Yep. That's it. (Apparently she was on the computer spell check or something.)
Me: Why do you want to know how to spell hearse? (She works at a bank.)
Her: We just wanted to know how it was spelled and no one here knew.
Me: Ummm, okay.
Her: I knew you'd know how to spell it.
Me: Yeah, you should read more vampire books and you'd know, too. (She has been teasing me about reading "Twilight.")

So, 1. I'm glad that I know how to spell hearse. 2. I love weird phone calls. And, 3. I can't wait for the phone to ring.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ramblings

I got a glimpse last week of shopping for a girl. I went looking for some long sleeve shirts for Julianna and all I could find were tiny little shirts with silly sayings on them. "Social Butterfly," "Daddy is wrapped around my finger," "Mommy's Little Angel," "Future Heartbreaker," "Party Girl," "Little Republican," "Sucker Club," "Your crib or mine?" Okay, I made that last one up but the rest are true. I don't want a message on my 3 month old daughter's chest. I just want a cute little pink shirt. It can even have flowers or butterflies. Just not "Diva." (One that was kind of cute though said, "What happens at Grandma's house stays at Grandma's house.")

We made our annual visit to Silverwood Theme Park on Sunday. We thought we should go when it was going to be warm since the boys love the water rides. It was a perfect day for it, too. Adam and Arrty went on the Aftershock and loved it. Josh isn't a big fan of rollercoasters so he and I hit Thunder Canyon a few more times. The best part for me was hearing the boys laugh and laugh on the rides. We got very wet and had a great time.

Julianna stayed with my mom while we went to Silverwood and it was the longest I had ever been away from her. It was hard. I missed her a lot. But when I went to pick her up she snuggled up to me and seemed to give me the biggest hug. I know she's too young to actually give hugs, but it sure felt like it. It was super sweet.

I am totally hooked on the "Twilight" books. Thanks, Katrina! :) I went to the Hayden library to check out "Eclipse," the third in the series and am ninth on the list. NINTH?!?! So I went to the Athol library (yes, there is one) and am next on the list. Woo hoo! I can't wait to read it. And to see the movie in November!

Aidan, my nephew, asked me yesterday if I would trade Julianna for his baby. (My sister is expecting a baby girl in January.) I thought he just didn't want to wait any longer for his baby sister. But when I told my sister about it, she told me that he knows that he will only have to go to school half days once the baby comes since she will be home instead of all day like he does now. And I thought it was because Jules is so cute! :)

Homeschooling is still hard. But it's getting easier since I have decided to relax. We don't have to do every single lesson every single day and that makes it much easier on everyone. And the boys are ahead in some subjects, especially math, so we are able to get through those lessons faster. So for now we are going to take it easy and catch up if we need to when we're snowed in this winter. (Yesterday they went in for IRI testing (reading) and are both reading well above grade level.)

I won Phil's book give away! The only thing better than books is free books! :) Thanks, Phil.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Home

Okay, I have about 4 1/2 minutes to write my first post about homeschooling. So here it is. Homeschooling is hard. The curriculum is great. The program is great. Our teacher is great. But teaching the boys at home is hard. There are lots of distractions for them and me. There are lots of other things we could be doing. It's hard to have a set schedule with a 3 month old baby. But we're trying. And doing okay I think. The boys are learning and sometimes having fun. And they are also learning that everything isn't fun. Writing spelling words. Not so fun. Writing sentences. Not fun. Reading when the sun is shining and the yard (or Spongebob) is calling. Not fun. But they also like a lot of it. Science and art and anything hands on they love. Taking a break and going for a walk whenever we want. Fun. Reading to their baby sister. Fun. Helping me make cookies. Fun.

All in all it's been okay and getting better. They've cried and I've cried, but the tears are getting fewer. We've had days when we only did two lessons, but today we got through everything plus a few extras. And I am home. With my kids. And it is hard, but good.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Growing

With all of the sighing I did yesterday about missing the first day of school, I forgot to mention that it was also the day that Julianna turned 3 months old. I know! 3 months already. She is growing so fast. Too fast. She has found her hands and therefore always has a toy nearby. She still sleeps 7 to 8 hours at night and wakes up smiling. She laughed out loud for the first time on Monday when Josh was making silly noises to her. She no longer screams during bath time and actually seems to enjoy it. She likes to "talk" to us when we're talking to her. She likes to be carried around in the baby wrap and usually falls asleep against my chest which is wonderfully sweet. She is so cute that strangers stop me in the store to admire her. (I know that all mommies think their babies are cute, but Jules truly is super cute. I would love to post pictures, but decided at the beginning of blogging to not post pictures of the kids.) And she amazes me everyday.

So my little girl is 3 months old and is somehow, though it seems impossible, getting sweeter by the day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

September

Today is the first day of school. And although the boys and I have been homeschooling for the last week and a half, today still feels like it should be the first. It has been bittersweet, this day. I woke up this morning with my baby daughter beside me and looked at the clock. It was time that I should be getting up and getting ready to go, but instead I was able to linger just a little longer snuggled next to my baby because I had no where to go. At 8:00 I felt like I should be meeting with my co-teachers for the first prayer meeting of the year. But instead, I was praying by myself for the day, theirs and ours. I could be, on this day, meeting a new class of fresh faced kindergartners and turning my own children over to their teachers. But I am here. Guiding the boys in their learning, rocking my baby, and wondering just how the day is going at the school. How long did Mr. D. go over time in chapel? Did all the students get to where they were supposed to be? How did Katrina's first day go in her way-cuter-than-mine-ever-was classroom? How did Mom do with her new class of pre-schoolers? How was Aidan's day with his new teacher that could have been me? Did somebody have chocolate for Kathy?

Sigh. I miss it. I didn't think I would. And I love where I am. But it's going to take some getting used to, this staying home thing. It will get easier, I know. I just hope it happens quickly.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Achoo!

Saturday as we drove up to Arrty's mom's place on the north fork of the Coeur d' Alene River, he told the boys that he was going to drive them through the big city of Prichard. He also told them not to sneeze. Adam asked, "Dad, why shouldn't we sneeze?" "Well," he explained, "If you sneeze you'll miss it." They understood once we got there. It would be easy to miss the bar and two old log cabins that make up the town if you sneezed on your way through. They thought it was funny and we continued on our way.

Then, Sunday on our way to church, Julianna sneezed. Instead of saying "bless you," Adam said, "It's a good thing we weren't driving through Prichard!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy-ness

Last week was one of the busiest I've had in a long time.

First our church was having Family Bible Camp (kind of like Vacation Bible School except for the whole family and in the evenings). We went to that Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday. It was a great event and we all enjoyed it. The boys especially liked the treats at the end of the night--snow cones, cotton candy, and s'mores. We missed Tuesday because it was family dinner night at my parent's house. We celebrated my brother-in-law's birthday with lasagna and cheesecake. Family dinner night is a weekly event that we all look forward to.

Thursday we took the boys to motocross at the fair. They love to watch the races and always ask when they can get motorcycles. It was rainy and wet and muddy but we made it to the grandstands just in time and stayed mostly dry. I can't say the same for the riders.

Friday we went to "Fun Friday" at church. Our children's minister has planned these special days all summer and we have been to most of them. The boys have especially enjoyed bike day, tie-dyed tee shirt day, and chef day. This week it was movie/slip and slide day. I could hardly get them out of the water.

After that, we headed back to the fair. We spent the afternoon looking at the animal exhibits and eating fair food (Hawaiian shaved ice, hamburgers, fish and chips, corn dogs). Then we went to the rodeo with the whole family--a yearly tradition. After the rodeo we were all thirsty and stopped to get sodas. Josh saw a guy with nachos and wanted some but since we were getting ready to leave we didn't go for more food. Until we were on the road, that is. We ended up stopping at Taco Bell and getting a snack. Josh got nachos, of course.

Saturday we drove up the north fork of the Coeur d' Alene River where Arrty's mom lives and spent the day with her. The boys spent hours in the water finding all kinds of creatures including a snake, a frog, clams, and fish. It was a great time. And we saw two moose and half a dozen deer on the way home.

Then last night we went back into town for a church picnic. There was plenty of food and fellowship as usual, along with a jumpy house and face painting for the kids.

And in between all that, we started school. (A post all on its own.)

So for a full week we weren't home until 9:00pm or later. Poor Julianna was a real trooper through it all even though her schedule got all thrown off course. Josh and Adam were tired, but enjoyed it all. Arrty had fun, but is glad to be done with such a busy week. And me, well, I'm just glad to get back to normal. If there is such a thing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Discovery

Today the boys and I attended our first Idaho Virtual Academy event. We went to Discovery Day. The boys went to separate classes with kids their own age and did a variety of activities and lessons. I went to the parent sessions with introductions, questions and answers, and expert speakers. It was very interesting. And a little overwhelming. It made me realize just what I was getting myself into. Almost everyone who spoke told us how hard it was going to be. Which I knew. But having someone else say it made me think.

Then a lady who has been homeschooling her children for 6 years shared some of her story. The way she described her relationship with her girls brought tears to my eyes. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, there will be tough days. Yes, I will be challenged in every sense of the word. And I will never regret a second of it.

By the way, everyone there looked absolutely...normal. There wasn't a squirrel skin hat to be found!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I love the Olympics. I can watch pretty much any event and enjoy every minute. Not only that, I love the stories behind the athletes. Like the swimmer who almost drowned as a child or the beach volleyball player who almost quit playing when she struggled to perfect the game.

Last night as I watched, I began thinking about in which sport I might like to compete. Swimming is out because, well, I can't swim. Gymnastics is out because I have never even been able to do a cartwheel. Beach volleyball looks fun but after the match you have to deal with all that sand. Boxing, ouch. Tennis, too much effort. Greco Roman wrestling...no. But then I discovered the perfect Olympic sport for me. Badminton. I was the 10th grade badminton champ in PE in high school. So it's perfect. Plus, the equipment is light and you get to say things like racket and rally and shuttlecock. And to avoid the pressure during the gold medal match, I can pretend that I'm playing in my front yard on a summer afternoon.

I have until 2012 to get ready. And I'll even make for a great story for the commentators. "40 year old Jen began her badminton career at the age of 36 after watching the 2008 Beijing games. Now she's ready to take on the world with racket in hand..."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

32 + 1

I went to the dentist today and he told me that I have perfect teeth. "Well, almost perfect," he corrected, "No one's perfect." I brush twice a day but rarely floss and have never had any work done except for a few fillings and still have almost perfect teeth. Not bad.

He also commented on my extra tooth. You see, I have 33 teeth. Two #10s. That's the one right next to the left top front tooth. Most people have 32 teeth if all of them come in and none have been lost or pulled. I have been going to this dentist for over 20 years and he still comments on my extra tooth. At least he doesn't pull everyone in the office in to see it like he used to. Now he just comments to the hygienist about it. Every time. And he gets very excited about it. Every time. Maybe that's because I'm the only patient he's ever had with an extra tooth. And you know he's seen a lot of mouths full of teeth. (Just not as full as mine.)

So I'm pretty sure that I'm his favorite patient--almost perfect teeth and an extra tooth. You know he can't wait until February when I come back.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ready?

It's mid-August and usually at this time of the year I would be spending most days in my classroom getting it ready for my new students. I would be planning lessons, organizing supplies, putting up posters, and making seating charts. I would be going over class lists and putting up little name tags on coat hooks and cubbies and tables. I would be tearing out workbook pages and writing names on them to get them ready for eager little hands holding brand new pencils.

But this year I am doing none of those things. This year I am spending my time in our basement setting up a very different kind of classroom. This year I will be homeschooling Josh and Adam. They are enrolled in the Idaho Virtual Academy. I am at once excited and hesitant about the prospect of homeschooling. It is wonderful (and challenging) to teach my own kids. I had them both in my kindergarten class. And I really am looking forward to doing the IDVA curriculum with them. It is a great program that provides families with all the supplies they need to homeschool. But I also know myself and my children. Josh is very smart and will be able to do much of the work on his own, but he is also stubborn and wants to do things his way or no way. Adam is above grade level, too, but can be silly beyond imagination and would often rather play than work.

We talked about this last spring when I asked them if they would like to be homeschooled. They were all for it. Josh said that he would be able to get his work done so much faster if there weren't so many other classmates talking around him. (I did not point out that he was the one doing much of the talking in class.) And Adam said that he wanted to homeschool so that he could be home with me and the baby. (This was before she was born and he still feels the same way about her.) So I talked to them about their issues and made sure that they realized that it would still be school and they would still have to do work just like always. They assured me that they would do what they were supposed to.

So that brings things to me. Now it's up to me to make sure that they have everything they need to succeed in this new endeavor. I have to combine all my mommy knowledge and all my teacher knowledge to give them the best education I can. I have to balance everything that mommies do at home while also teaching my children several hours a day. I have to be consistent to make sure that the boys learn what they are supposed to in school and what they are supposed to about life. And I have to do all this while taking care of their 2 1/2 month old sister.

I have a feeling that I just may be the one learning the most this year.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Natural Consequences

This morning when I asked Adam to get my magazine for me while I was nursing Julianna, he informed me that I make him do everything and I do nothing for him. Well, as consequences for his being disrespectful about it, I told him that for the rest of the day he will do everything for himself and whenever he asks for my help, I remind him of those consequences. As a result, he made his own lunch, did his craft project alone, and picked up all his own messes among other things. And we still have dinner, baths and bedtime to go. Maybe next time he'll just get the magazine.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ramblings

Friday we went to a Spokane Indians baseball game. It was fun as usual. Except for the lady sitting behind us who was cheering for Yakima. Loudly. And who kept yelling, "Down in front!" to anyone who stood up in front of her anywhere in our section for any reason. She even yelled it if she thought someone was blocking someone else's view.

I made $73 at a friend's garage sale on baby stuff that had been given to me that I either didn't need or already had. I'll use the money to buy Julianna an entertainment seat.

Speaking of Julianna, she had her 2 month doctor's appointment on Friday. She is now 22 inches long and weighs 11 pounds 8 ounces. She also had to get shots. Poor girl. She did great though and was fine after a few doses of Tylenol.

Still speaking of Julianna, she has consistently slept between 6 and 7 hours for almost 4 weeks now. I didn't mention it earlier because I didn't want to jinx it. She has also moved from the bassinet in our room to the crib in her room. She is growing and changing too fast. Sigh.

Sunday we went to Art On The Green. It's kind of like having a garage sale. You have to do it every few years to remind yourself why you don't want to do it again. Too many people and too much money for a huge bun with a tiny piece of chicken. (Although the guy who stood in front of the speakers during the bluegrass concert and danced alone for a very long time was kind of entertaining.)

Shark Week on Discovery Channel is over. Never in my life have I watched so many shows about sharks as I did this week. The boys in my family couldn't get enough. Did you know that sharks are repelled by the smell of dead sharks? Or that bull sharks, not great whites, are considered the deadliest sharks? Or that if you are being attacked by a shark and poke it in the eye it will let go? Well, now you do. And when they have butterfly week, I'm totally making my family watch every minute!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Theater Fun

For the past few summers I have gotten CDA Summer Theater tickets with some of my sister-friends. We always have such a great time going to dinner and watching the shows together. It's something that I look forward to throughout the summer. I missed the first one this summer because Miss Julianna was only 12 days old and I wasn't quite ready to get "All Shook Up" with Elvis. The second show, "La Cage Au Folles" was funny, but a little over the top for me. But on Saturday, the girls and I were in for a treat. We went to Fort Ground Grill for dinner, a new place for us all. It was great. The food was really good and after tasting a bit off all the plates around the table, we decided that we will definitely go there again.

The show for the night was "Once Upon A Mattress" and none of us really had any idea about it except that it was based on the princess and the pea story. It turned out to be a whole lot of good, clean fun. From the obnoxious queen to the meek prince to the mute king to the lovable princess, every minute was completely entertaining. I knew from the second that we met the mote swimming Princess Winnifred that I would love her. And I did. At intermission I told the girls that we had to take her with us to dessert afterwards. She would fit right in with our little group. She was funny and fun and kind and sweet. And most of all, she was who she was and didn't care who knew it. My second favorite character was King Sextimus played by the always wonderful Jack Bannon. Poor King Sextimus is mute and must communicate with hand signs which makes for several moments of hilarity, especially when he's trying to explain to Prince Dauntless about the birds and the bees. Let's just say his stork impression is priceless! And as usual the actors were amazing, the music was perfect, and the story was entertaining.

So once again, I was not disappointed. It was a wonderful evening filled with great food, a terrific show, and my favorite friends.

Monday, July 21, 2008

We Need To Get Out More

One afternoon last week, the boys asked if we could make chocolate chip cookies. Why not? It is summer vacation after all. So here's how we make cookies at my house. Get the bag of cookie mix out of the pantry. Add a stick of butter and an egg. Mix. Bake. And eat. (The boys do know that there are other ways to bake and have seen baking from scratch on occasion for those of you cringing at my cookie mix.) Since I know that they like to help, I asked Adam to get the eggs out of the fridge and told him to take one out of the carton. He sat the carton on the counter and opened it. But as the top went up, the bottom slipped off the counter and dumped 11 of the dozen eggs on the floor. I looked at him and he looked at me and we both looked at the scrambled mess on the floor and I started to laugh. And then he started to laugh (relieved that I was laughing, I think). We got paper towels and a plastic bag to put the mess in and both got on our knees to start cleaning up. Josh then joined in and began picking up shells and yolks. It didn't take long for the boys to discover the squishy fun of squeezing the yolks through their fingers. They laughed and played and made the mess bigger than it was to start with. Then Josh said, "This is the most fun I've had all day!" And that's when I realized that we really should get out more often.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Word Of The Day

Yell heard down the hall from the boy's room:

"Josh! Stop telling me what to do! I am not your minion!!"

Minion?!?! Really?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mush

As I looked back at my posts since Julianna was born, I noticed that they have all been very mushy and sweet. And while there have definitely been those mushy, sweet times, that's certainly not all that comes along with a new baby. So I thought that with this post I would share a bit of the reality that happens between those moments that I gaze into the face of my baby daughter.

One thing is that she cries. Loud. She only cries if she's hungry. Or tired. Or really needs a diaper change. And pretty much every time we put her in the car seat. But, she's not colicky, thank goodness, and cries less than most babies, I think. And we've learned how to soothe her pretty quickly, but last week in Costco when her screams were echoing throughout the warehouse, I realized just how anxious her crying can make me. Her crying doesn't usually bother me, but I don't want it to bother anyone else.

And then there's the diapers. Oh, the diapers. First of all, who knew that such a little person could make such a big mess. And so very often. It's a good thing I received so many diapers as gifts. It's going to cost a bundle when those run out. Secondly, I thought that with a little girl I wouldn't have to be so quick on the draw with the changing. But, guess what? Instead of wetting up like a fountain, she wets down all over the pretty pink outfit that I just put on her 10 seconds before.

Then there's the lack of sleep. I know that I need lots of sleep to function without getting grouchy, so I started praying for a baby who was a good sleeper a long time before she was born. But like all babies, her sleeping is inconsistent to say the least. For the first few weeks she and I spent most nights on the couch or in the rocking chair with me holding her. Then she slept in the bed with me for a while, but I didn't sleep well at all. Now she sleeps in the bassinet next to our bed most of the time and usually sleeps 3 or 4 hours at a time. Last night was great, though. She slept 6 hours straight! Woo hoo! (I hope I didn't just jinx it.)

This next one is something that I have to mention even at the risk of my "World's Best Mom" mug being taken away by the LaLeche League. Breastfeeding. It is one of my least favorite parts of the baby thing. I know that I'm supposed to love it. But I don't. I do it because it's best for the baby and for me. I nursed the boys until they were about 6 months old and plan to do the same with Julianna. But for the most part I find it uncomfortable, inconvenient (outside the house), and well...drippy. It does, however get bonus points for being free.

But besides the crying and the diapers and the sleep deprivation and the breastfeeding, everything in my life really is all mushy and sweet.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

One Month

Yesterday Julianna turned one month old. And just as I suspected, time with her is flying by. I realized very early on with her that I better relish every moment because, just like with the boys, I'm going to blink and she'll be 8 years old. Those early days with her weren't easy. It seemed like all I did was feed her and hold her and change her and try to figure out which one she wanted me to do. On very little sleep. But here we are, a month into her little life. I know her a little better. She knows me a little better. We are both sleeping a little more. And I love her more and more every time I look at her.

And now, finally, she seems real. For so long it was like a dream. A long morning sickness, tired body, c-section, hospital room, weird nurse filled dream. I'd look at her and wonder when and why and how she became a part of me. And then a few mornings ago as she lay beside me looking so amazingly lovely in the dawn light, I realized why God sent her to us. It's for me. I need her. I don't know why yet. And I don't even know when I'll know why. But it hit me like a ton of bricks that God sent me this beautiful little daughter, not because she needs me, but because I need her. She is going to help me become a better person. She is going to teach me things that no one else can. She is going to play some part in my life that can't be filled by any one else. So now as I watch her grow and change, I will also be growing and changing.

But right now, she is calling me and it looks like the change of the moment is a diaper change.

Monday, June 30, 2008

In The Corners Of My Mind

Guess what happened? For the first time in weeks, I had blog ideas over the weekend that had nothing to do with kids! I did, of course, have some about the kids, too. But it seems to be a big step for me post pregnancy and newborn to once again see the world without an overactive hormonal haze. At least for a few moments at a time. Now a few examples.

1. I saw two women and five kids who were perfectly able bodied, pile out of their Escalade that the driver had just parked in the very first handicapped parking space at Target. I knew from the swimsuits and beach hair that they had just spent the day frolicking in the sand and water. I always wonder about people who think it's okay to park in those spaces when they so obviously don't need to. And how do they explain to their children that it's okay?

2. Is it still legal for people to ride in the back of pickup trucks? I saw three teenaged boys riding in the back of a truck hauling hay up the highway. All I could think of was how fast accidents happen and what would happen to those boys if anything happened. I said a little prayer for them and hoped that they were almost to their destination.

But then yesterday after church and lunch and a visit with my parents, I went to lay down for a short nap. And this post happened. Of course, I had Julianna with me. She's my shadow, you know. As we lay on the bed (in the room where the air conditioner is), we were joined by my husband. And then Josh. And then Adam. We talked and laughed for a few minutes and then started to get quiet. The boys said that they weren't sleepy and didn't want to take a nap. But one by one we fell asleep. I'm only ever half asleep these days, so when I opened my eyes and looked over and saw my family all sleeping peacefully by my side, my mind flew back to 25 years ago. My family--mom, dad, sister, and I--lived on Front Street in downtown Coeur d' Alene in a little white house between 9th and 10th Streets. And I remembered, for the first time in years, how on summer Sunday afternoons, the four of us would pile onto mom and dad's bed and take a nap together. I'm sure that there was talking and laughing before the actual sleeping. I'm sure that my sister didn't really intend to take a nap. And as I lay there watching my husband and children all in a pile sleeping in the cool air, I wondered if my mom had ever done the same thing. Did she, like me, look at the faces of her family and smile at how sweet they looked? Did she, like me, wonder just when exactly she became this person who was 30 something and married and a mom? Did she, like me, say a prayer for this family of hers...for their safety and happiness and health? Did she, like me, wish the bed was just a little bit bigger so that she didn't have to have one leg hanging over the edge? And for a few minutes I was two people. I was the 11 year old girl who slept peacefully between mom and dad. And I was the mom and wife who looked at her family with more love than I knew was possible.

So now I have one more reason to love naps. Memories.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here Comes the Sun

Every time I'm tempted to complain about the heat, I remind myself about the miles and miles of snow that was in our yard a few short months ago. And I remember that at least I don't have to shovel the heat to get to my car.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kids

Maybe it's sleep deprivation. Or maybe it's the fact that I spend my entire day solely taking care of my children. But I really can't think of a thing to write about other than the kids.

First, I just have to say that Josh and Adam are the world's greatest big brothers. Even after two weeks, they still can't stay away from their sister. They think she's the cutest, sweetest baby ever. They fight over who gets to sit by her and hold her and kiss her first. They help me any way they can and even go so far as to getting the diaper changing stuff ready (as long as they don't have to touch the dirty one). I just have to wonder how long this will last. I'm thinking that when Julianna is 6 and Josh is 14 and Adam is 13, there might not be so much doting. But maybe there will be. It will certainly be fun to watch.

And Julianna. It still feels like a dream that she's here at all. I wake up to her sounds at 2:00am and look down at this little girl with the face of an angel and lungs of an opera singer and wonder where in the world she came from. The whole journey with her has seemed somehow surreal--from the pregnancy to delivery to now. And I look forward to getting to know her and finding out just why God sent her to us.

So now we have to say "kids" instead of "boys." As in, "Are the kids ready for church?" And I get to play dress up with my little doll-faced girl in all her piles of pink. And I get to watch as my family, every one of us, changes a little each day. And I get to see, in the faces of my children, how blessed I truly am.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Today's Schedule

1. Change baby's diaper
2. Feed baby
3. Burp baby
4. Rock baby
5. Repeat 100 times

Monday, June 09, 2008

Five

Julianna is peacefully sleeping...on her brother's lap. Neither of the boys can get enough of her after a week of her being here. They are always wanting to kiss or hold or talk to her. And they even want to help change diapers, which before her arrival, they were determined to avoid at any cost. They are in love with this little girl that they have waited so long for. And I love that they feel nothing but love for her right now.

She is officially one week old. It doesn't seem possible. It seems like just yesterday she was still in my belly hiccuping the day away. But she's here in all her lovely baby-ness. She is soft and sweet and beautiful. She is everything I knew she would be and more. She keeps me up at night and keeps me busy feeding and changing her, but I am loving it. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do everything that I needed to do and that sleep deprivation would be the end of me. But I'm actually feeling pretty good and, since she will by my last baby, I am trying to soak in every second of being the mother of a newborn again.

She was born with minimal difficulty, considering the whole abdominal surgery thing. I admit that I was pretty scared as the morning went on with all the preparations and at one point had to give myself a little pep talk. I said something like, "She's in there and she's coming out. Say a little prayer and get in the operating room." Which is what I did. The anticipation was the worst part. The reality was tough, but I made it through and most importantly so did Julianna. And after two and a half days in the hospital, we made it home. What a relief to be in my own home without nurses poking and prodding at all hours.

So, here we are, our little family of five. And so far it's been good. The bonding and the planning and the loving. And I know that it will only get better.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

She's Here

Julianna Grace was born Monday, June 2nd at 8:04am. She weighed 7lb 14oz and was 21 inches long.

And now she wants to eat. Be back later.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ready Or Not

This very well might be my last blog as a mother of two. In a few short days, I will have three children. Two boys who I can't remember life without. And a new daughter who will, I'm sure, turn my life upside down once more.

Early in the morning, if I'm lying on my side in just the right position, it doesn't even feel like I'm pregnant. Then I try to roll over. And all of a sudden there she is. Sometimes during the day I'll be going about whatever it is I'm going about, and I'll look down and can't see my feet for my belly. And it hits me. I'm about to have a baby. Not, I'm pregnant. I know that. But, in less than 72 hours I will be holding my daughter. This child who has grown in my belly for the last 9 months. This child who has caused so much emotion. This child who must be a girl because she already has way too many clothes. This child whom God has sent to be part of our lives. She will be here so very soon.

The room is ready. She has a place to sleep and diapers to wear and books for her brothers to read to her. But am I ready? Am I ready for sleepless nights and a helpless infant? Am I ready to have my heart once again walking around outside my body in the form of this tiny little person? Am I ready to have enough of everything I need to mother three children? Well, here's the thing. It doesn't really matter if I'm ready or not. She's on her way. And in all honesty, I am ready for one thing. To see her little face and to see who she is and to see who I am with her.

We've been connected, she and I, for long enough. And I've enjoyed every second of it. But it's time to move on. It's time to step into the next phase of our lives together. My family's life with 5 instead of 4. Her life as a member of our family that everyone can hold and love. My life as the mother of three and of a daughter. As scary as it still is and will probably continue to be, I am ready. I am ready to hold my daughter and share her with the world. And pray every second that she is safe and healthy and happy in that world.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Double Hockey Sticks

Should I be glad that Adam corrected the word "helicopter" on a movie by saying that it should be "heckicopter?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shiny Nest

Well, it finally happened. I am nesting. You know. That time during your pregnancy when you want to clean everything. So Sunday I cleaned the kitchen top to bottom and worked for a while in the boys room putting away laundry. Then last night I cleaned both bathrooms using five different cleaners. My tubs haven't been this shiny in...well...in a long time.

I actually did most of the cleaning after the boys went to bed (and after American Idol). And in spite of very swollen feet and ankles, did a pretty good job. But it wasn't until this morning that I realized just how long it's been since I really cleaned my house. Not until Josh walked into the bathroom and exclaimed, "What happened in here?!?" He said that, not because of a mess, but because the bathroom was so clean.

I guess I need to break out the Softscrub a little more often.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fishy

This was today's entry on my online calendar. No wonder it's so challenging to teach English!

Ghoti = Fish

The curious and counter-intuitive nature of the English language is splendidly illustrated in a joke misspelling of the word ‘fish’ usually attributed to George Bernard Shaw. The joke is that ‘fish’ could be spelled ‘ghoti’ for these reasons:

gh as in ‘cough’ • o as in ‘women’ • ti as in ‘nation’

Sunday, May 18, 2008

7

Today my baby turned 7. My adorable, funny, silly, smart, thoughtful baby. He is even more amazing today than he was seven years ago. I remember like it was yesterday the day he was born. He was such a cute baby with his blue eyes and barely there blond hair. We knew he was a boy so there was no surprise there, but the fact that I could be so amazed by this little person was. After all, I had just had a baby 19 months earlier. And that was amazing. But even though I had been through it before, I was once again awed by the miracle of life. And this tiny baby boy was proof again of God's gifts.

That day I had absolutely no idea just who he was. I knew he was different from his brother. I knew that before he was even born. But in the past seven years I have gotten to know this person who makes me laugh like no one else can. This person who amazes me with his thoughtful questions. This person who can drive me crazy with the silliness that is also one of my favorite things about him. This person who loves bugs and watermelon and jigsaw puzzles. And who loves to laugh and make others laugh. Who makes sound effects when he plays video games and sings when he's in the bathroom. And who would hate it if he knew that I just told you that he sings in bathroom. Adam is amazing and wonderful. He reminds me everyday to enjoy the moment and that if it's not fun either make it fun or don't do it.

And best of all, he has taught me to chase butterflies.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Show and Tell Finale

*a shiny rock that A. got from the haircut lady
*two brand new sparkly pencils that L. found in her backpack just in time for show and tell
*a pot containing 8 cacti that are "real and if you break them you will have to pay $8.00"
*1 green monkey, 1 Spongebob book, 1 Spiderman mask, 6 Neopets and stories for each
*a Magna Doodle (kind of like an etch-a-sketch only with a pencil to draw with) that can be used to draw pictures of me with a mohawk
*a stuffed goose and a baseball poster that J. won for our book fair coloring contest
*a chapter book with lots of pictures and stickers and a bracelet
*a stuffed dog and 2 posters from the book fair
*a story about how C. can ride her bike without training wheels and how her sister taught her how and helped her. And apparently it's hilarious that she crashed with her training wheels but doesn't crash without them!
*a jack-in-the-box named Jack Jack in the Box H. (Jack is his first name, Jack in the Box is his middle name and H. is his last name--the same as L.'s because he lives with him--and Clowny is his nickname.)

This is officially my last Friday and so my last show and tell report. It's been fun this year to see what the kids consider special enough to show their friends. Or at least to see what they have in the bottom of their backpacks that they pull out when they forget show and tell day. The best part though, is what they "tell." Five year olds can be very...umm...creative.

And I think that workplaces should institute show and tell day. We would all be able to get to know each other a little better. Or at least get to see what we have in our desk drawers if we forget something from home! :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

To The Nines

I had a doctor's appointment today and he happily announced that this baby would probably be my biggest one yet. Nine pounds he guessed. Not that I care how big she is, I'm have a c-section after all. But I don't really feel that big and have only gained 15 pounds since the beginning. And the way I figure it, if the baby weighs 9 pounds and then there's 4 pounds of other baby stuff, I will only have to lose 2 pounds later. Sounds good to me. Bring on the 9 pound baby!

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Few Reasons (for Ada)

(in no particular order)

*me
*Aidan
*Adam
*Mom and Dad
*Josh and Adam
*Arrty (yes, even him)
*your niece (I'm totally not cool, so she's going to need you for lots of advice and shopping trips.)
*days at the beach
*naps
*pie and ice cream
*friends
*Mexican food
*4th of Julys
*singing
*hot chocolate
*garage sales
*concerts
*road trips
*sunshine
*s'mores
*fresh flowers
*story telling
*Christmases
*new hair cuts
*unexpected cards in the mail
*childhood memories
*prayer
*good books
*soft pjs
*a clean house
*spirit filled praise songs
*chick flicks
*family dinner
*the Lord's love